Sunday, August 3, 2008

Like The Oklahoma Weather

I can't go another day without posting about food. The computer crash has slowed things down a bit, but it feels good to be back in the saddle again.

It sounds crazy, but we've been craving soup lately. Not just any soup. August isn't the time for wimpy, brothy, chicken noodle soups. No, it has to be hot and spicy, like the Oklahoma weather. Earthy and red, to match the Oklahoma dirt. This time of year, Tortilla Soup, is the only soup that will do.

For this recipe, I used fresh jalapeno and Anaheim chili's from the garden. I began by sautéing onions, garlic, chili's, celery, and a bit of carrot in a large dutch oven. Then added spices (lots of cumin, coriander, Ancho Chili powder, salt and pepper) and allowed them to cook just a bit to bring out their flavors. Next, I poured in one large can of chopped tomatoes, a large container of good homemade chicken broth and one can of black beans, rinsed and drained. I let this simmer for about 20 minutes. Then about 5 minutes before serving, I added some fresh corn and cilantro and a good squeeze of lime juice just to zing things up a bit. If this doesn't hit the spot, I don't know what will.

I like to make this soup in big batches so everyone can just ladle up whenever they want. We like to garnish with shredded Monterey Jack (my personal favorite), avocados, crispy fried corn tortilla strips, sour cream, and even plain old Tostito's will do in a pinch (as I've done here). Everyone grabs a bowl and enjoys. It's such an easy, fun meal. And best of all, it goes great with Margaritas.

Our pepper plants have really started to kick in. Yee-haw! I use them in almost everything: salsas, soups, chilies, marinades for fajitas, even decor. It's such a cheerful thing to see a heaping basket of fresh, verdant chili's, dotted with bright oranges and reds, setting proudly on the counter. And by the way things look this summer, we're going to have enough heat here to power a Flaming Lips concert. My hubby went a little crazy with the habaneros.

My son talked me into making this roasted habanero salsa. On a cookie sheet, under the broiler, we roasted tomatoes, onions and one very lonely, but potent, habanero pepper, until the skins were nice and brown. After cooling a bit, we removed the seeds from the habanero and put everything into a food processor, skins and all, and pulsated a bit along with a handful of fresh chopped onion, one Anaheim pepper, and a generous bunch of cilantro, just to freshen things up a bit. Lastly, we added a good pinch of salt and the juice from a small lime. Would you believe the entire bowl disappeared in one evening?


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Tortilla soup is good any time of the year. And "yee-haw" just made me smile. :)

Michelle said...

Susan - Always happy to meet another Tortilla soup fan! Thanks for stopping by.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I absolutely love tortilla soup, come late September I would just love a great big bowl of this!